2016 was a year of blockbusters across all the south Indian languages, with top grossers recording high numbers across the four industries.
This year saw as many as 196 Kollywood releases, and 118 Malayalam films till December. Tollywood recorded around 170 releases, while the Sandalwood industry in Karnataka saw 168 films hit the screens. While not all of the films set the cash registers ringing, audience responses were significantly favourable, with some box office hits even setting records.
A total of 196 films were released till December 23. And 10 more films are scheduled to hit the screens on the yearâ€™s final weekend, say reports.
Undoubtedly, the biggest release in Tamil, and across the south Indian film industries this year was Rajnikanth-starrer â€śKabaliâ€ť.
Since its release on July 22, â€śKabaliâ€ť, directed by PA Ranjith, not only broke the Chennai box office record with collections of nearly Rs 12 crore, but also went on to be a universal hit with a total collection of a whopping Rs 677 Crore.
Of this, over Rs 200 Crore was earned from the Indian Box Office.
Along the way, Kabali also broke the record set by "Theri", the Vijay-starrer that hit the theatres earlier in April. â€śTheriâ€ť is the second biggest hit at the state box office this year, and had crossed the Rs 100 Crore mark in the first week of its release at the world box office. At the Chennai box office, the film reportedly fared well, coming in second to â€śKabaliâ€ť with a collection of Rs 11 Crore.
2016 also featured a host of other hits including "Rajini Murugan", "Irudhi Suttru", "Pichaikkaran", "Theri", "Irumugan" and "Achcham Yenbathu Madamaiyadaa, and it was only Suriyaâ€™s â€ś24â€ť that failed despite being a star-studded feature.
Of the 118 films released till December, 22 have made into the list of box office hits. Leading the pack was another industry heavyweight, Mohanlal, who broke his own previous records this year.
Mohanlal's "Pulimurugan" emerged the highest grosser, with the film walking into the Rs 100 crore club within a month of its release on October 7.
Directed by Vysakh, Pulimurugan broke the record set by "Oppam", which released a month before it. â€śOppamâ€ť had, in turn, broken the record of 2013 film â€śDrishyamâ€ť, which was the previous lifetime grosser in the industry.
"Oppam", whose story revolved around a visually challenged security guard, released on September 8, crossed the Rs 50 Crore mark in the world box office in just over a month, of which nearly Rs 38 Crore was collected from the Kerala box office.
Nivin Pauly-starrer â€śJacobinte Swargarajyamâ€ť, Dileepâ€™s â€śKing Liarâ€ť, and Faahad Faasilâ€™s â€śMaheshinte Prathikaramâ€ť, were some of the other hits of the industry this year.
For Telugu cinema, the clash for the top spot took place between Allu Arjun and NTR Jr, with their blockbuster releases â€śSarrainoduâ€ť and â€śJanatha Garageâ€ť. While â€śSarrainoduâ€ť did slightly better in the domestic box office, the Jr NTR-starrer took the top spot with total collection of Rs 135 crore.
For Jr NTR, this was a highly successful year, as his â€śNanaku Premathoâ€ť also scored big in ticket sales.
Of course, the surprise hit in terms of return on investment was the Tharun Bhascker-directed "Pellichoopulu", which paid back its shoestring budget many times over, with collections of Rs 6 crore in North America alone.
Other Telugu hits included â€śKshanamâ€ť, "Soggade Chinni Nayana", "Supreme", "Express Raja" and "Nenu Sailaja".
For the Sandalwood industry, the big bucks predictably went to a few established stars. The horror thriller starring Shivrajkumar, â€śShivalingaâ€ť set the ball rolling in the first quarter of the year, drawing collections of Rs 35 crore. The biggest hits of the year though, came in the third quarter, with Puneeth Rajkumarâ€™s â€śDoddamane Hudugaâ€ť pipping Kiccha Sudeepâ€™s â€śKotigobba 2â€ť to take the top spot of the year.
The big story of the year in Kannada cinema, however, was the success of many middle and low-budget story-driven films that were very successful in the overseas markets. Films like â€śU-Turnâ€ť, â€śGodhi Banna Sadharana Mykattuâ€ť, and â€śKarvaâ€ť enjoyed successful runs at the box office, and brought the talk to changing trends in the industry, despite not being the top grossers of the year.